If Time Machine is backing up daily, can I erase my photos on my macbook pro?

QA Apple Time Capsule

QA Apple Time Capsule

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4 Answers from the Community

  • Best Answer:

    Yes and No!

    You can erase your photo's but Time Machine routinely deletes older backups to make room for newer backups.

    If your photo's just happened to be part of that "older" backup set then its gone!

    Time Machine should really ask you if you want to delete stuff before doing it but that's not going to happen unless you file a bug at bugreport.apple.com

    or send the marketing people feedback regarding your opinion.

  • Of course you can erase your photos on your macbook pro - it makes sense to do so if you are carrying tonnes of data via photos, music, and videos =- as long as you back them up first.

    On the safety first side, using Time Machine or any other external drive system is just smart and one level of holding your data safely. But TM as well as most other systems come with a lifespan. It's not uncommon for these units to burn out at about 24 months - or sooner for lesser models.

    I always back my photos up on my removable drive which has a large capacity and I also keep full memory cards from my camera as another form of backing up data.

    Being a former Windows-User, I learned that having multiple backups, no matter how neurotic it may seem, turns out to be a good strategy in keeping our human memories safe.

  • You can, but then you only have ONE copy. The whole point of a backup is to have (at least) two copies of everything important in (at least) two different places, because ALL hardware fails, sooner or later!

    Plus Time Machine will, sooner or later, delete the backups of anything that's no longer on your Mac.

  • Yes you can, and I do.


    As said, once the storage drive is full Time Machine will over-write older back-ups and you don't want that!
    What to do is keep an eye on the remaining space on the disk and once it is nearing full, archive it and start again on a new storage disk. Or buy a massive storage disk.
    Downside is that you have to dig out the old machine for old back-ups but I can keep well over 1 years worth of files active on my laptop / 2 years on Time Machine and rarely need to retrieve something older than that anyway. Plus, if one small drive fails you have lost less than a large drive.